R Kelly won Grammy awards galore in the 1990s with pop hits like I Believe I Can Fly and Bump ‘n’ Grind. But a 2019 documentary listed a string of allegations of sexual misconduct dating back decades.
A jury is being selected in New York this week for the trial of pop star R Kelly, who denies nine charges of sexual abusing under-age girls and adult women.
A 22-page questionnaire has been given to each of the 200 or so people who make up the jury pool.
They will be asked a range of questions in a bid to ascertain whether they are prejudiced against the 54-year-old star or against the prosecution.
Several of the questions pertain to the 2019 documentary Surviving R Kelly.
— cman1 (@cman149399593) August 8, 2021
The trial is taking place in Brooklyn and is due to begin on 18 August once a jury has been selected.
The indictment claims Kelly sexually mistreated five victims, who are referred to as Jane Doe #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6.
Three of the women were under-age at the time of the alleged abuse.
A sixth alleged victim was the singer Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in the Bahamas, aged 22, in 2001. She is referred to in the indictment as Jane Doe #1.
The indictment claims Kelly – real name Robert Sylvester Kelly – thought he had got Aaliyah pregnant in 1994, when she was 15 and he was 27, and got married to her so she could not testify against her. When it turned out she was not pregnant he divorced her the following year.
One charge on the indictment is that he bribed an official in Illinois in order to get fake documents which gave her age as 18 so the secret marriage could go ahead.
Judge Ann Donnelly has agreed to allow prosecutors to present evidence Kelly mistreated other women and the jury will hear audio recordings of him yelling and apparently beating several women.
— Page Six (@PageSix) August 3, 2021
A male witness will also claim Kelly sexually abused him.
Federal prosecutors claim Kelly had his managers and bodyguard recruit women and under-age girls who he could have sex with and film.
Kelly denies racketeering, bribery and extortion, along with the sex charges.
He has also pleaded not guilty to separate charges in Chicago relating to five under-age girls.
Kelly has been in custody for two years awaiting trial and one of his lawyers said last week he has no money left and cannot even afford new clothes, having gained weight in jail.